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colourful, hills


The Blind Leading The Blind...

I don't know where the muses take me, I only know that I like it!

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Sherlock Fic - Reaction, Part Five
colourful, hills
Title: Reaction
Rating: R/NC-17
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, and am making no profit from their use, more's the pity.
Warnings: Non-con and slash, Sherlock/John leanings.
Summary: Written for a prompt on the kinkmeme: Before shoving him in the explosive vest, Moriarty fucked John, viciously. John makes it through the whole encounter with Moriarty and Holmes via his own badass soldier nerves of steel, but afterwards, when he and Sherlock are admitted to the hospital for minor burns and abrasions and shock, the hospital staff find other injuries on John.

(Title page by [info]birddi)

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four


When John woke up, everything was feeling distant and nicely fuzzy, like he was viewing the world through a thin veil of cotton wool. The pain was still there, of course, but that was alright – it felt very remote, and John suspected that if he'd woken up and not been in at least some pain, he would have just gone right back to sleep.


He'd been expecting that – the pain and the fuzziness, because considering what he'd been through he'd have been surprised if either one had been absent. What he hadn't been expecting was Sherlock.


Sherlock, leaning forward in his seat like a boy anticipating the climax of a movie, too scared to look away. As if he'd been physically willing John to wake. He blinked when their eyes met, as though only just realising that the doctor was conscious.


“John...” Sherlock breathed, then drifted to a halt as though not actually sure what to say.


“Are you actually speechless?” John murmured, his voice raspy and raw, feeling very weary but somehow amused. “Hang on a moment, let me call the newspaper.”


But Sherlock didn't grin, or laugh, or react to John's words in any way. Some of the nice fuzziness ebbed away as John remembered exactly why Sherlock was staring. He knew. They all knew – Sherlock and Lestrade and Donovan, they all knew.


“Your brother is a bastard.” John hadn't been planning on saying that, but he wasn't about to retract it.


“I've told him so on many occasions,” Sherlock replied, his voice carefully level. Then he seemed to brighten somewhat. “Do you want me to punch him? I can always tell Mummy I did it on your behalf.”


In spite of his situation, John wanted to laugh. He realised he'd been wrong in his earlier assessment – what Sherlock and Mycroft had was less like sibling rivalry and more like sibling warfare.


“You want to punch your brother, you do it on your own behalf,” he said, his tone serious. “You're not blaming me for it.”


“Why not?”


“Because I want to punch him myself. The army trains you for that kind of stuff, you know – if I did it right, I could probably break his jaw.”


Sherlock actually looked pleased at the prospect. “All right, it's decided; you shall be the one to punch Mycroft.”


John felt his merriment fade as reality suddenly intruded on his happy little bubble. He couldn't punch Mycroft until he was out of the hospital bed – he had a good idea of his recovery time, and that it would probably be measured in days, not hours. “That might have to wait a while.”


Sherlock's expression flickered, his mouth twisting for an instant before he seemed to force it to smooth out. He looked like he was trying to appear impassive but wasn't quite pulling it off.


“Are you alright?” John asked.


Sherlock, for one split second, looked utterly flabbergasted. It didn't last long, but that heartbeat of time was enough to make John feel a dull flicker of amusement. He'd never thought he'd see the day that Sherlock was actually struck dumb with astonishment, let alone at something John had said – usually it was the other way around – and he took a small, almost perverse delight at reversing their roles.


“Am I...?” Sherlock trailed off, blinking hard and looking suspicious, as though he didn't quite believe what his senses were telling him. “John,” he began again, voice purposefully even. “I realise your powers of observation are nowhere near as acute as mine, but I don't see how you could have missed the fact that you're the one in the hospital bed.”


“Doesn't answer my question,” John pointed out.


He didn't want to think about why he was in a hospital bed. He didn't want to think about why Sherlock was so surprised at him asking after the taller man's welfare. He didn't want to think about the fact that he had a good idea of what had Sherlock so distressed – if he concentrated on how it was affecting Sherlock, he wouldn't have to think about how it was affecting himself.


Sherlock was still staring at him, looking as though he were completely lost for words, as though John was the most incomprehensible puzzle he'd ever seen.


Sherlock's scrutiny had never bothered John before – he wouldn't have lasted fifteen minutes in Baker Street if it had – but now it did. Now that there was another, darker reason for it besides Sherlock's desperate need to know everything about a person, John felt fidgety and uncomfortable beneath the weight of Sherlock's gaze, as though it were a razor raking him bare.


Suddenly, John didn't want to know the answer to his question. Sherlock was physically unharmed, that much was evident, and he dreaded to hear what else Sherlock might say.


“So, I take it I've been fixed up,” he said quickly.


Sherlock's head jerked forward in a nod, something dark momentarily flickering through his eyes, like a shadow passing across the surface of a lake.


John wanted to move, wanted to shift position and take stock of the work that had been done on him, but the memory of how much it had hurt simply to dress himself held him back. The painkillers ensured he felt little beyond a dull discomfort, but he wasn't sure if they'd hold up if he moved, and he had no desire to revisit that level of agony ever again.


“Is there some water around?” he asked. His throat was still horribly dry from screaming.


Sherlock jumped up as though he'd been electrified, and moved out of John's line of sight, prompting the doctor to struggle towards something resembling a sitting position to track him. It turned out there was a jug of ice water and some plastic cups on the table beside his bed, the table that had been positioned on the side John had been facing away from.


John never thought Sherlock would practically leap at the chance to get him a drink. Then again, he had probably been as uncomfortable with the conversation as John had, and getting water was an easy way out.


John took the opportunity to get a good look at the room – it was much more luxurious than he'd been expecting. For one, it was much larger than the usual hospital room, and there was a television and DVD player in one corner, along with chairs that actually looked comfortable instead of the plastic, mass-produced monstrosities usually found in hospitals. The door at the far end probably led to a toilet and shower – private ones, but then, the whole room was private. John supposed the hospital didn't house rape victims with the rest of the populace in case unpleasant situations arose and John wasn't going to let that thought run to completion.


Fortunately, Sherlock arrived at his side with a glass of water and an excuse to carrying on not thinking about it for the foreseeable future. John reached for it with his left hand automatically, then faltered as his shoulder suddenly tingled with pain, the old injury twinging afresh and reminding him of the abuse Moriarty had given it.


He took the water with his right hand instead, and met Sherlock's scalpel-sharp gaze with his own. John hadn't missed the way Sherlock's eyes had darted along his left arm, the way his lips had tightened as he obviously came to the conclusion that Moriarty had deliberately brutalised his wounded shoulder.


The right wasn't much better, strictly speaking – both of his wrists were equally mauled, and he could feel the burning of pulled and torn muscles, damaged from his prolonged struggles – but it was the lesser of two evils. And John absolutely refused to resort to having a cup held to his lips; he was not helpless, and he wouldn't act as though he were.


John drank to the soundtrack of Sherlock's fingers tapping restlessly on the arm of the chair. Sherlock's eyes were flickering up and down John like he expected the doctor to spontaneously combust at any second.


John drained the cup as slowly as he could, dreading what was about to come, mainly because he didn't know what it was. He'd become fairly good at predicting how Sherlock would react to things – well, he got it right six out of ten times, which were better odds than most people could boast – but he honestly had no idea how Sherlock was taking this. To anyone else, he probably looked impatient; the relentless drumming of his fingers and the way he occasionally glared over John's shoulder as though the wall had personally offended him weren't exactly indicators of sympathy.


But John could see the way the corners of his eyes creased as the muscles pulled tight, the way his tapping was just a little too fast, a little too arrhythmic to be truly impatient, and the look on his face could only be called 'anguished'. John knew that this was a Sherlock wound so tight he was inches away from snapping.


It was that, more than anything else, that was tying John's intestines in knots. He'd promised himself that he'd keep it from Sherlock, that he'd deny Moriarty his final victory, that he'd spare Sherlock...this. And he'd failed. He couldn't even keep it hidden for half an hour.


For an instant John's self-loathing surged, and he gritted his teeth against the frustration that tightened his throat.


In that instant, Sherlock's head swivelled towards the door, and John had just enough presence of mind to smooth his features before it opened, admitting Mycroft and Donovan. Cassiopeia was nowhere to be seen – John assumed she was elsewhere, ensuring Mycroft's bloody 'Big Brother' network ran as planned.


John couldn't help scowling at the thought. He was still supremely pissed off at Mycroft and deeply resenting the injection of painkillers he'd been given. He was also very humiliated that Mycroft had aired extremely dirty, bloodstained laundry in front of all those people...but then, John had asked. He might not have liked the reply, but he'd been the one to ask in the first place and John was a great believer in taking responsibility.


He'd never asked for the injection, though. And he certainly didn't appreciate being drugged up on Mycroft's whim.


“I'm afraid I must apologise,” Mycroft said smoothly, as though having read his mind. Which, given that he was a Holmes, wasn't completely out of the realm of possibility. “I did not anticipate that your reaction would be quite so...dramatic.”


John's glare didn't let up for an instant. “For future reference, when a doctor tells you they're going to pass out, they're usually right.”


Mycroft simply inclined his head, which John supposed was the closest he was going to get to a concession.


Beside Mycroft, Donovan was doing her best to look sympathetic and understanding, but John could still tell that she wanted to be anywhere but here. He could sympathise – he didn't particularly want to be in this situation either.


“We've sent the rape kit off,” she said gently.


John stiffened, every muscle in his body suddenly snapping tight. He knew what rape kits involved, and the thought of someone doing that, of someone combing his pubic hair and scraping under his nails and swabbing his...


He clenched his eyes tight shut for a moment, and deliberately bit his tongue, using the sudden surge of pain to drown out the memories that roared in his brain. His skin tingled and tightened in expectation of blows, his injuries aching and throbbing as he remembered them being inflicted, remembered Moriarty's delighted laugh...


He forced his eyes open, and made himself speak. “Bet you fifty quid you get nothing.”


Donovan gave a high, jolting laugh, though it seemed more in surprise that he'd made a joke than anything else. Sherlock's hand was clenched so tightly on the arm of his chair John was a little worried he was about to snap it off.


Mycroft, of course, still looked supremely above it all, but John was beginning to think that was his default expression.


Donovan was very subtly shifting her weight, obviously uncomfortable, but looking as though she were about to speak. John turned his attention to her, which seemed to be a mistake as she only became more unsettled.


“I'm here to...” she trailed off, apparently re-thought, and started again. “We need...”


“I do have a general idea of how this works,” John pointed out, feeling that this was something that should be understood. “Though I'll admit I haven't done it from this side of the fence before...you want a statement, right?”


“Yes.” Donovan looked miserable, and John felt a little sorry for her. He'd treated rape victims before, and it was horrifying and sickening enough when he'd been dealing with strangers – he couldn't imagine what it would have been like if he'd actually known the person.


Of course, just because he knew what to expect didn't stop something in him quailing at the thought of verbalising what had been done to him. The idea of describing what he'd been through made John's hands clench in the hospital blanket, muscles going rigid as he fought the urge to retreat to the corner of the bed and curl into a ball.


“Right, you two – out!” Donovan ordered, snapping back into her no-nonsense, tough-as-nails police persona as she made to chivvy Sherlock and Mycroft out of the room.


Mycroft, placid as always, probably knew that no government post could grant him permission to listen in on a rape victim's statement. Either that, or he just sensed that Donovan wasn't going to let up until he was outside – at the very least, he started moving towards the door.


Sherlock, on the other hand, looked almost panicked.


It was Sherlock's version of panicked, which was a lot subtler than that of a normal person, but the signs were there for anyone who knew to look. Sherlock's hand had shot out and grasped the edge of John's bed as though he was fully prepared to physically hold himself in place if he had to. His eyes darted between John and the door, and John could practically see his mind churning in an effort to come up with a reason for him to remain there.


With a jolt that he could actually feel, John realised that Sherlock didn't want to leave him.


The words flew out of his mouth on impulse. “Sherlock can stay.”


Three pairs of eyes turned to him, all with varying expressions of surprise on their faces, and for a moment John allowed himself to bask in the triumph – however small – of actually managing to surprise both the Holmes brothers.


“John...” Sherlock had a very strange expression on his face – as though he was torn between being grateful and suspicious of John's mental state. Personally, John thought Sherlock was hardly someone to be making judgements on that subject.


“Well, you've probably deduced most of it already and you'll end up getting a copy of the statement from somewhere,” John explained. “So we might as well skip the intermediate step.”


He didn't mention the real, far more personal reason that he wanted Sherlock to stay – Sherlock might have been the one displaying something eerily similar to separation anxiety, but John didn't think he'd be entirely comfortable watching Sherlock walk out the door, either. He knew it was going to be uncomfortable and humiliating to tell Donovan exactly what had happened with Sherlock sitting beside him, but he meant what he said. Sherlock was going to find out anyway...and he'd rather Sherlock stayed with him.


“You do realise I'm going to do the same,” Mycroft put in.


“Yes, getting that statement is probably going to be child's play for you,” John admitted. “But I don't like you very much right now, so you're not staying.”


Mycroft didn't even look disgruntled – just smiled as though he'd been expecting John's response and left, shutting the door quietly behind him.


Donovan produced a tape recorder, and John felt strangely grateful that she was going to just let him talk instead of writing everything down. Something about the incessant scratch of pen on paper, the idea that someone was transcribing every word he spoke, just unsettled him.


The policewoman was clearly trying to find a nice, sensitive way to prod him into talking about what had happened, so he decided to spare her the bother. He gestured for Donovan to turn on the recorder and then began to speak, taking care to keep his voice low and even, as though he were describing a minor inconvenience, like getting a flat tyre.


“I was on my way to Sarah's. I'd only been walking for ten minutes before someone got me with a tranquiliser gun...”



Sherlock had never had much to do with rape cases. They were, almost without exception, unutterably boring – usually someone the victim knew, and as it was such a physical crime there was almost always enough evidence for him to deduce who'd done it within the day.


Now, Sherlock was more convinced than ever that he wanted nothing to do with rape cases. Not because they were boring, but because they would make him remember. Remember John staring off at the wall, pointedly not making eye contact with anyone. Remember John wincing slightly each time he moved, obviously feeling his injuries even through the painkillers he'd been given. Remember John – in a voice carefully without inflection – describing acts that made Sherlock long to find Moriarty and inflict upon him a fraction of the pain he'd inflicted on John.


When John's voice faltered as he began to detail the flogging he'd received (which had begun after the second rape, and while that information was something Sherlock wished he could delete from his hard drive, he had a feeling he would remember it for the rest of his life), Sherlock had noticed an odd discrepancy. John's right hand was relaxed and steady, but his left was clenched into the hospital blanket so tightly it was shaking, the skin as white as polished bone and the knuckles protruding like bolts.


He reached forward automatically, his fingers brushing the back of John's hand in an instinctive attempt to ease the tension there. John flinched, and Sherlock made to withdraw, but in the next instant John's hand was tightly clenched around his.


It was a stupid, meaningless gesture...but it made the seething tangle in Sherlock's chest ease somewhat.


John finished his statement without a flinch, or a wince, or any kind of reaction whatsoever. He never once actually looked at Sherlock, and he never let go of his hand.


But that was alright, because Sherlock didn't let go either.



AN: I have a beta! The wonderful ginbitch  looked this over for me.

Part Six

Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine
Part Ten
Part Eleven
Part Twelve

I hesitate to say that I'm "enjoying" this story when it is so horrifically awful, what's happened to John...but I'm not sure what other terminology to use. I haven't ever been in this specific situation, so I can't say what's realistic, but John's reactions feel very real to me, as do Sherlock's. I don't think I've commented before, but I've been reading along and I'm always happy to see an update to this fic.

Thanks! Glad the characters seem real to you - that's my biggest worry.

I wasn't sure about this fic at the beginning - rape fics are treated too blithely in this fandom - but you are doing a fantastic job with a horrifying subject.

I'm a psychotherapist and have treated rape and sexual abuse victims. I must commend you on how you're writing John. Spot on.

Thanks. My understanding of psychology is pretty limited (I have a friend who's a psychologist, which basically means I've picked up a very basic grasp of the concepts and a few words that make me sound smart) so I'm glad to hear I'm not screwing it up.

Let the healing (Sherlock comforting John, ahem) begin! I'm always excited to read your next chapter.

this...is heartbreakingly good

This is so heartbreakingly brilliant. I applaud you.

This is beautifully done.

The scene where John wakes up to find Sherlock watching over him, and neither knows what to say or do, is so sad. How are they ever going to be comfortable together?

I'm so glad he let Sherlock stay in the room, even though it has to kill Sherlock to hear the details that he'll never be able to forget.

He reached forward automatically, his fingers brushing the back of John's hand in an instinctive attempt to ease the tension there. John flinched, and Sherlock made to withdraw, but in the next instant John's hand was tightly clenched around his.

It was a stupid, meaningless gesture...but it made the seething tangle in Sherlock's chest ease somewhat.

John is comforting Sherlock. There may need to be a lot of hand-holding in subsequent chapters. Hell, I may need MY hand held...

Thanks. Empathy is a big part of John's character, so I tried to write him as such - more focused on Sherlock's reaction than his own.

What a stunning portrait of personal and shared pain, and the characterizations are just brilliant. It aches, so much more so for the helplessness of so many dear characters.

Thanks! The characterisation is always my biggest worry.

GAH! This story is so well done!

I look specifically for it in my friend feed! I love how you are handling all of it. It's really true to the characters. Which is hard to do. And man you really allow John his dignity which is . . . right on. This is fabulously done.

Love the bit where he tells Mycroft to get out. Love that he wants Sherlock to stay.

Well done. Keep it up!

Thanks! I didn't think John would be very happy with Mycroft, not after that injection...

(Deleted comment)
So well done!
And the bit from Sherlock's POV where we see how John delivers his story just broke my heart!

Thanks! I figure Sherlock's empathy is not so much absent as...rusty. He'll only break it out for people who are important to him.

the weird thing is I was reading this last night and wondering when you'd update! AMAZING chapter, you've written both of them so well, especially Sherlock I think. Can't wait to read more :)

Thanks! Working on the next part even now!

This is honestly one of my favourite stories in this fandom. I love how you've made Sherlock in this scene, such a tangle of emotions he's probably not all that experienced with. This is an amazing fic, and I hope I don't sound greedy when I say I can't wait for an update. (I know we only just got one - and thankyou for it ;-))

Thanks! I figure Sherlock's empathy isn't so much not there as just unused. He only dusts it off when the person's very important to him.

This remains completely awesome. The whole pre-statement John-Sherlock banter about punching Mycroft, then the John-Mycroft exchanges. They just ring so true and in character. I should really be getting ready to go to work now, but I saw this was up and had to read it. I'm very glad I did :)

Thanks. I could see them both being very displeased at Mycroft (John because of the injection and Sherlock because...well, because he always seems to be).

When I saw that you had updated this story, I immediately rushed over to read it. Another great chapter in a truly well written piece. The voices are all right on target, and the responses are right too. Can't wait to read more.

Thanks! I'm so pleased so many people think my characterisation is done well - it's my biggest worry.

This is one of my favourite fics.
It's heartbreaking, but amazing.
Well done!